Are US and Israel planning Iran strike?

The head of the U.S. military visited Israel for the second time in six months yesterday as tensions continued to rise over Iran's nuclear plans.

Israel refused to say what Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed with his opposite number in Tel Aviv except that they 'exchanged updates and joint estimates about security in the Middle East'.

But his two-day visit has fuelled speculation that Israel and the U.S. are planning a joint attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Talks: Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen met with his opposite number in Tel Aviv

Talks: Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen met with his opposite number in Tel Aviv

Yesterday, Iran threatened to cut off oil supplies in the region if it is bombed.

Israeli diplomats are urging western countries to step up sanctions against Iran and for the nuclear watchdog the IAEA to act more quickly.

Iran is believed to be between one and three years away from being able to arm its ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

Shabtai Shavit, a former head of the Israeli Mossad secret service, said the 'worst-case scenario' is that Iran could have nuclear weapons in a year.

He added that if sanctions do not work, 'what's left is a military action' - and that the 'time that is left to be ready is getting shorter all the time'.

Two weeks ago, Israeli warplanes staged an exercise in the Mediterranean which looked like a dry-run for a raid on Iran.

Shavit also said any U.S. action cold be influenced by the result of the presidential election, with John McCain was much more likely to sanction a strike than Barack Obama.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki scoffed at the idea of an Israeli strike while the chief of the hardline Revolutionary Guards warned Iran would retaliate with missiles if attacked.

General Muhammad Ali Jafari said Iran would also cut off the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, a route taken by 60 per cent of the world's oil tankers.

'Oil prices will dramatically increase,' he added.

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